How to Homebrew Sake

by Mutsuo Hoshido,

Homebrew Sake is very easy to brew using your simple cooking tools and you can enjoy Sake taste.

Homebrew Sake,we call 'doburoku', rather haze Sake, had been a culture of Japan and even under the previously strict control of Liquor Tax law,some Buddhist temples or Shinto Shrines have been brewing thier own 'doburoku' to serve their festival or ceremony.

Following is one of the simple Sake brewing procedures to enjoy Sake taste.


You will be able to get Kome-koji made from Koji or Koji-kin, a kind of white fungi, together with steam cooked rice at your grocery stores or homebrew stores. If you only can get Koji or Koji-kin, you can easily make your fresh Kome-koji together with steam cooked rice by yourself using your picnic ice box. Later I will show you how to make Kome-koji. If necessary, I can send you some Koji or Koji-kin by air mail, because Kome-koji is too heavy and too easily going bad to send over the ocean.



How to make Kome-koji from Koji or Koji-kin.

If real "Amasake" is available (sake sludge mixed with suger is not real amasake),directly pitch dry yeast in a bottle.You can brew Sake.

In Japan, at present, fermenting more than 1% alcohol without license is illegal. Before world war one, I heard that every family had been enjoying homebrewing Sake. It was the Japanese culture. But the war destroyed the culture too. At present,members of " Homebrew News Letter" is only arround 300. It is supposed that about ten thousand homebrewers exist in Japan. We do not only homebrew beers but also homebrew Sake.

In 1992, the minimum amount of licenced beer production was reduced from 2000kl/year to 60kl/year by the pressure from the USA. It was the dawn of local micro beer brewers. We, most of Japanese homebrewers, are wanting more pressure from the USA for free homebrew and for free trade to get cheeper homebrew ingredients.

Commercial Sake brewers use very expensive materials such as 50% polished special kind of rice,which looks very small crystal beads because of the excessive polishing process. And the special rice kinds grown only for Sake are called Yamadanishiki,Miyamanishiki,reihou,gyokuei and so on. We never eat such a rice, we usually eat slightly polished normal kinds of rice grown only for eating. When I visited Sake brewer near my house,the manager told me that he tried to eat that sake rice but that it was not tasty.

Homebrew Sake is very simple to make and satisfactorily tasty if you do not compare with commercial high class pure rice Sake. I heard that US Sake brewers have to produce only pure rice Sake because of US tax law. Pure Rice Sake means Sake only from rice. In Japan, tax law allows mixture of so called industrial ethyl alcohol into Sake within a certain percentage. Pure rice sake (Junmaishu) is very expensive.

I hope you enjoy homebrew Sake.

Mutsuo Hoshido,

Last update: 25 July 1996